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Optic 2000 Tunisia 2007 Special-Newssection (FIM Cross Country Worldcup)





This is the single-news section of the marathonrally.com special of the Optic 2000 Tunisia Rally 2007, 1st round of the FIM Worldcup for Cross Country Rallys. To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.









Optic Tunisia: Lavieille’s Nissan maintains a solid 2nd position.





The start of this 6th special stage of the Rally Optic 2000 Tunisia, between Nekrif and Techine, was totally new. Following a narrow, sandy track through vegetation, there was one rule for this first sector: To keep closely to the road book notes, due to the numerous changes of direction. Failing this, there was a serious risk of never crossing the Remada - Tataouine road at the 30-kilometre point.

After that, the track became faster, over very hard ground with a number of undulations and dips which are always tricky at high speed. Shortly after the service area, 180km from the start, the scenery changed dramatically, entering one of the most mountainous regions of Tunisia. The pre-Atlas mountains, looking more like the Far West, provided narrow, technical tracks, with plenty of tight corners, all the way to Techine. Pure driving ...

Christian Lavieille and François Borsotto, in the Team Dessoude Nissan Navara Proto, finished this tricky section just 1 minute 18 seconds behind Jean-Louis Schlesser. A fine performance, especially considering things did not st art off well.

"We reached the 26th kilometre and saw, to our surprise, Jean Louis Schlesser coming towards us. The road book notes at this point were not exactly clear. So we got lost together for around 4 minutes, before getting back on route. Over the winding sections, we stayed in contact with the buggy, but as soon as the road got faster, Jean-Louis disappeared. We decided to attack during the mountainous sector, over a technical route which really suited the Navara. The scenery was absolutely magnificent, and I must admit we really enjoyed ourselves !

Around 30 km before the finish line, we caught up with a biker who had fallen down. Another biker had stopped, but despite setting off the beacon, help had not yet arrived. So I set off our beacon as well, as a safety measure. We are nevertheless satisfied with our time, even if we only just missed out on the stage win. We tried some different suspension settings, and I am really delighted that those we tested paid off. We set the rear springs to their softest setting, which gives more comfort and drive. It’s the perfect opportunity to try various solutions in order to find the right setting. Our aim now is to reach the finish" said Christian Lavieille.

François Borsotto also gave his impressions from the right-hand seat: "Christian is a very wise driver. He never takes unnecessary risks, and quickly adapted to the car. So far, he has only spent around 15 hours behind the wheel" The special stages are following superb routes, but the road book notes and most particularly the warnings are not very precise. With a car like this, the slightest mistake can have serious consequences. But Christian always has a margin in hand, just in case."

A real battle is underway in T2 with the Nissan Pathfinders it is clear that Jean-Pierre Strugo has not yet said his last word. Following Laurent Rosso in the overall classification, he set the fastest time in today’s stage. Sixteen minutes behind the leader yesterday, "JP" reduced the gap by six minutes today.

There are two legs to go, and knowing his determination, it is quite evident that he has not yet thrown in the sponge. Laurent Rosso is under pressure, and can see the red rocket closing on him in the overall classification. Although he has a good margin over Jean-Pascal Besson in the battle for third position in T2, Paul Belmondo had some worries during this special stage and finished 48 minutes behind Strugo. A bearing severely handicapped him today, but tomorrow everything should be back to normal.

2007/04/07 | 11:12 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Dessoude






















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